The Art of Traveling: A reflection on growth through discovery

      When I think of traveling, I imagine hectic check-in lines, delayed flights, and being out of breath because you had to run to the very end of the airport after passing through security. Luggage gets lost, and people get pushy all because everyone has a destination to reach. Destination: is it a place or is it a dream? That ultimately is left up to the traveler. Not every place you travel to lives up to your expectations, but then there are places that reflect something you always dreamed of.

      From the time when I was twelve years old, I have traveled to multiple states and a few countries for different purposes. Either my family and I were heading to vacation in Virginia, or I was serving as a missionary in Bolivia. In my life so far, I have lived by plane, car, and train. My hope is to someday travel by boat or helicopter just for the sake of adventure. Most of my travels have been the cause of invitation to deliver a sermon, attend conferences as a guest minister, or to serve alongside close friends already living a life of ministry. Within the last five years, I have traveled to about seven states, learning about the communities and having the opportunity to compare them to my hometown, Philadelphia.

      Last summer was unique as I got to travel to two new places; one state and one country all within less than a month from one another. My first stop? Sioux Center, Iowa. During the Spring 2018 semester, I decided to take an offer that I couldn’t refuse. The chance to study and train as a student journalist, which entailed  a semester’s worth of assignments for two weeks straight. Everything from room to meals was completely covered in cost, and I simply had to save up money for interconnected flights. I traveled from the Philadelphia airport to Chicago, and from Chicago to Iowa. Big and small planes alike with just me, myself, and I. Oh, and of course God.

     A few months before traveling to Iowa or the midwest for the first time in my life, I had decided to volunteer once again for missionary work, but this time in Europe. Previously I only served in countries like Honduras, where I distributed supplies to the rural areas. During my freshman year at Eastern, I got the opportunity to travel to Bolivia through a program called, A Breeze of Hope, where they informed us in depth about sexual abuse and how to counsel/comfort victims. During the summer of 2018, my local church planned a missionary to Austria, where we were instructed to evangelize European communities and train the leaders/staff of a one year church-plant. Each of these destinations have marked my life in numerous ways, from shaping my character and focus for the better, to continually lending out a helping hand.

      If you never have traveled before, I encourage you to take the first step of acceptance. Although it will take more than just your faith to reach new places, nevertheless, in the midst of your wishful thinking, promise to yourself to never stop dreaming. Acceptance is a strong foundation that leads to progress or advancement, realizing where you currently are and where you desire to be. Traveling can be used for all types of purposes: celebrations, assignments, missions, or vacations. It’s the wonder of going from here to there that’s akin to our nature, something every human being strives after.

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